In 2009, I was introduced to this great band, Local Natives. Their first album, Gorilla Manor, was what I like to call a game-changer. The sound of the album was unlike any other band that I had heard previously. Their Indie sound combined with folky elements, was reminiscent of bands like Band of Horses, My Morning Jacket and Midlake; each of them had once touched upon this with infectious hooks that to this day, I still remember.
In their new album, Hummingbird, the signature sound is still there. Unlike the overly catchy hooks of the first album, Local Natives focus more on developing a more complicated and unique sound. A listener of Grizzly Bear or The National will notice both of these bands overtones with this record.
The Grizzly Bear type sound can be heard in the album’s very laid back and mellow feel, which is unlike their debut album. The drums of the record are fairly comparable of The Nationals record High Violet. I won’t say that it was probably the band’s intention to have a similar sound, but on the same token, it is almost a compliment because these groups are held to such a higher ladder in the Indie Rock world.
Lyrically, this album, like the previous release, touches on sensitive parts of life. This is another aspect that I have always loved about Local Natives. Like other groups I have mentioned, seem to touch at the very deep parts of a person’s soul with lyrics that magnify one’s existence. The song “Black Spot” is a key example of this signature style the band exudes. “Black Spot” shows how someone is put into a position in life, when they feel lost, but are able to be resilient.
“…And so calm, I look inside
And I see the things I always knew
But wasn’t sure until now.”
Musically and lyrically, this is one of the brilliant records of the year thus far. With their debut, Local Natives showed us a band who was searching for sound which was both unique and transcending. With Hummingbird, the group exhibits themselves as a symbol of their album title – a bird that flies to different destinations, in search of fulfillment. It is with the journey that they constantly transforming themselves. At the same time, though, they’re keeping to the qualities that made them the band they are today.